Welcome to COVIDPlasma.org

This site is a resource to educate interested donors, the health care community and the public about COVID-19 convalescent plasma and its use in treating people with COVID-19.

This site is brought to you by AABB.

AABB (formerly known as the American Association of Blood Banks), is an international, not-for-profit association representing individuals and institutions involved in the fields of transfusion medicine and biotherapies. AABB’s community – comprising of blood centers, hospital blood collectors and transfusion services – is committed to advancing optimal donor safety and patient care.

If you have recovered from COVID-19, you may be able to help patients currently fighting the infection by donating your plasma. As a result of your infection, your plasma now contains COVID-19 antibodies, which is one way your immune system fought the virus when you were sick. Your plasma is now known as convalescent plasma.

What is Convalescent Plasma?

When a person contracts a virus like COVID-19, their immune system creates antibodies to fight the virus. These antibodies are found in plasma, which is the liquid part of blood. Plasma with these infection-fighting antibodies is called “convalescent plasma.” Through a blood donation process, this antibody-rich plasma can be collected from a recovered person, then transfused to a sick patient who is still fighting the virus. This provides a boost to the immune system of the sick patient and may help speed the recovery process.

Is Convalescent Plasma an Effective Treatment for COVID-19?

The FDA has issued an emergency use authorization for the use of COVID-19 convalescent plasma as an investigational treatment for hospitalized patients early in the course of COVID-19 disease if the plasma contains a sufficient quantity of antibodies. The FDA’s emergency use authorization also applies to patients with impaired humoral immunity.

COVID-19 convalescent plasma is often referred to as CCP; when the level of antibodies is high, the units are described as high-titer CCP.

CCP remains an unlicensed, investigational blood product authorized for emergency use because clinical studies have not conclusively shown its effectiveness as a treatment for COVID-19. However, a number of studies have shown that CCP units that do not have a sufficiently high quantity of antibodies (low-titer CCP) may not be beneficial for patients with COVID-19.

We know there is evidence that convalescent plasma has helped patients with other illnesses. There is a continuing debate about whether CCP is an effective treatment for COVID-19; while some studies have been completed, a number of others are still underway.

While additional treatments are evolving, CCP is an option that may help hospitalized patients. The idea to use this treatment for the new coronavirus was suggested by Arturo Casadevall, MD, PhD, from Johns Hopkins University; and Liise-anne Pirofski, MD, from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

If you would like to learn more about the literature on CCP, please visit the Resources for Patients section.

A long history of therapy

The collection and transfusion of convalescent plasma as a treatment was first used in the 1890s and helped reduce the severity of a number of infectious disease outbreaks prior to the development of antimicrobial therapy in the 1940s.

In the early 20th century, convalescent plasma treatment was used during outbreaks of various infectious diseases, including measles, mumps and influenza. More recently, it was used during the H1N1 influenza pandemic in 2009, and again in 2013 during the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

1) Recovered COVID-19 patient donates plasma
2) Plasma is tested.
3) Plasma is stored and transported to hospital
4) Patient treated with plasma
5) Therapy is complete.
6) Recovered patient may become future donor.

Donating COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma: FAQs

I did not get tested for COVID-19 but had symptoms consistent with the virus. Can I still donate?

  • Maybe! If you did have the virus, your blood will have COVID-19 antibodies developed by your immune system at the time of your infection. Your local blood center will be able help you with the next steps when you contact them about the donation process.

Where can I donate?

Who is eligible to donate?

  • In addition to the eligibility criteria for CCP donation, there are standard requirements for all blood donors (e.g. feeling well and healthy, minimum age and weight, etc.). Your local blood donation site will ensure you meet all necessary criteria before donating.
  • Donations from women who have been pregnant undergo additional testing for HLA antibodies to help prevent TRALI or transfusion-related acute lung injury. TRALI is a rare but serious complication that has been linked to transfusion of plasma. In order to lower the risk for TRALI in patients who are treated with CCP, plasma for transfusion is usually collected from a person who has never been pregnant or a donor that tests negative for HLA antibodies.

If I meet the criteria for donating COVID-19 convalescent plasma, how often can I donate?

  • It depends. Typically, plasma donations such as these are only permitted every 28 days. However, the medical director of your donation site may determine it is safe to allow more frequent donations for some donors. For example, some donation sites are permitting eligible donors to donate once every 7 days for one month, or every two weeks for 2 months. Your local donation site will be able to provide you with more information.

My family member is being treated for COVID-19. Can I donate to help them if I am eligible?

Is it safe to donate blood?

  • Yes! AABB accredited blood donor centers follow AABB Standards and FDA’s regulations. These establishments follow strict rules and regulations to maintain the safety of all involved in the blood donation process. AABB-accredited blood centers and hospital blood banks voluntarily adhere to even higher quality and safety standards as part of their commitment to your safety.

Can I donate CCP or blood after being diagnosed with COVID-19?

Yes – You must be healthy and well before you donate CCP or blood. If you are interested in donating CCP:

  • You must be symptom-free for at least 14 days. Some donation sites may ask you to wait 28 days after your last symptom.
  • CCP is not collected at every donation site so use the AABB donor center locator to find a center.

I had COVID-19 a few months ago, recovered, and was vaccinated. Can I donate CCP?

It depends. If you had a COVID-19 diagnosis or positive test result in the past 6 months, you might still be able to donate CCP even after vaccination. In fact, there is some early research suggesting donors like you could have some of the highest antibody titers, making your CCP donation even more valuable for patients in need.

To donate CCP after vaccination, you must meet all three criteria:

  1. You had symptoms AND a positive diagnostic test for COVID-19 confirming the infection, AND
  2. You were vaccinated after you had COVID-19, AND
  3. It has been less than 6 months since your COVID-19 symptoms ended.

I was vaccinated, but I’m not sure if I ever had COVID-19. Can I donate CCP?

No – if you’ve never had symptoms AND a positive test to confirm your COVID-19 diagnosis, you are not eligible to donate CCP. But you can still donate blood!

My local blood center is not collecting COVID plasma. How can I still donate?

To donate blood:

Information for Patients: FAQs

Is convalescent plasma transfusion safe?

  • If you or someone you know is hospitalized for COVID-19, your doctors may determine that CCP transfusion is an appropriate treatment option to consider. You should discuss treatment options with your doctor to understand if CCP is the best treatment option for you.

  • Plasma transfusion is generally considered a low-risk treatment , but is not free of risk. Each donation undergoes extensive testing and processing for safety and quality as required by AABB and the FDA. AABB-accredited hospitals have chosen to meet voluntary quality and safety standards as part of their commitment to patient safety.
  • The Mayo Clinic coordinated the largest safety study to date of CCP transfusion, covering tens of thousands of patients; their results consistently found that the risks associated with CCP transfusion are no different than those for transfusion of plasma.

Is convalescent plasma transfusion an effective treatment for COVID-19?

  • There is not yet a definitive answer. Several studies have not found a benefit of CCP transfusion, but many of those studies either used plasma that contained an insufficient quantity of antibodies or they were conducted on patients with advanced disease. For CCP to be effective in reducing mortality and preventing or shortening hospitalizations, as was demonstrated by a randomized controlled trial in Argentina, high-titer CCP may need to be given early, before the patient requires intubation or mechanical ventilation.
  • At the same time, AABB has assembled a panel of experts to review all of the literature. The group will finalize this work later this year, but they have already issued preliminary recommendations.